No matter how you feel about net neutrality, the fact is that changes are coming and unless something drastic happens, the reversal of the rules that we’ve been following over the years is upon us. You can expect companies that will benefit from removing these rules will surely take advantage of the situation. It looks like AT&T isn’t wasting any time and are now including prepaid users in their sponsored data program. On the surface, free data is very much welcome, but of course it will eventually kill healthy competition.
Sponsored data basically means you get to stream content from “select partners” and this will not be counted against your regular data. The fact that most of these partners are actually owned by AT&T is the cause for concern. You get content from their DirecTV, U-verse, and Fullscreen video services. So obviously, if you were to choose between subscribing to DirecTV or Hulu or Sling TV, you’ll choose the one that will not consume your data, especially if you’re saving it up.
Previously, the sponsored data was only for postpaid customers, but they have now sent a text message to prepaid customers, informing them that they will now be able to get streaming from the aforementioned video services without spending so much in their data allocation. It’s available only in the US though, and not Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
While it is good news for customers, practices like this results in unfair competition as it is the AT&T companies and services themselves that will benefit. Verizon has also previously launched a similar program back in 2016 and with net neutrality basically a thing of the past, expect other carriers and companies to do something similar.
VIA: The Verge